Synchronicity (The Police album)

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Synchronicity
Police-album-synchronicity.jpg
Studio album by the Police
Released17 June 1983
RecordedDecember 1982; January – February 1983 (overdubs)
StudioAIR Studios, Montserrat
Le Studio, Quebec[1]
Genre
Length39:42
44:18 (CD and cassette version)
LabelA&M
Producer
the Police chronology
Ghost in the Machine
(1981)
Synchronicity
(1983)
Every Breath You Take: The Singles
(1986)
Singles from Synchronicity
  1. "Every Breath You Take"
    Released: 13 May 1983
  2. "Wrapped Around Your Finger"
    Released: 8 July 1983
  3. "Synchronicity II"
    Released: 21 October 1983
  4. "King of Pain"
    Released: 2 January 1984

Synchronicity is the fifth and final studio album by English rock band the Police, released in the United Kingdom on 17 June 1983.[2] The band's most successful release, the album includes the hit singles "Every Breath You Take", "King of Pain", "Wrapped Around Your Finger", and "Synchronicity II". The album's title and much of the material for the songs were inspired by Arthur Koestler's The Roots of Coincidence. At the 1984 Grammy Awards the album was nominated for a total of five awards including Album of the Year and won three. At the time of its release and following its tour the Police were hailed as the "Biggest Band in the World".[3][4]

The album reached number one on both the UK Albums Chart and the U.S. Billboard 200, and sold over 8 million copies in the U.S. Synchronicity was widely acclaimed by critics. Praise centred on its cohesive merging of disparate genres and sonic experimentation. Rolling Stone described "each cut on Synchronicity [as] not simply a song but a miniature, discrete soundtrack".[5] It has since been included on their lists of the "100 Best Albums of the Eighties"[6] and the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[7]

In 2009, Synchronicity was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In the 1983 Rolling Stone readers poll, Synchronicity was voted "Album of the Year".

Recording[edit]

The album's title was inspired by Arthur Koestler's The Roots of Coincidence. Sting was an avid reader of Koestler, and also titled Ghost in the Machine after one of his works.

The album marked a significant reduction in the reggae influences that were a part of the band's first four records, instead featuring production-heavy textures and liberal use of synthesizers that, at times, drove entire songs ("Synchronicity I", "Wrapped Around Your Finger"). The influence of world music can also be heard in songs such as "Tea in the Sahara" and "Walking in Your Footsteps".

As with their prior album, the basic tracks for Synchronicity were recorded at AIR Studios, Montserrat beginning in December 1982. The three band members recorded their parts in separate rooms: Stewart Copeland with his drums in the dining room, Sting in the control room and Andy Summers in the actual studio. According to co-producer Hugh Padgham this was done for two reasons: to obtain the best sound for each instrument and "for social reasons."[1] Padgham also stated that subsequent overdubs were done with only one member in the studio at a time. The overdubs were done at Le Studio in Quebec during January–February 1983.[1] During the recording of "Every Breath You Take", Sting and Copeland came to blows with each other, and Padgham nearly quit the project.[1]

The album was published in the UK and U.S. on both LP and CD in 1983, and on Super Audio CD in 2003. In 1989, it was published by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab as a remastered gold CD.

Artwork[edit]

The album's original cover artwork, conceived by Jeff Ayeroff and Norman Moore, was available in 36 variations, with different arrangements of the colour stripes and showing different photographs of the band members, taken by Duane Michals.[8] In the most common version Sting is reading a copy of Jung's Synchronicity on the front cover along with a superimposed negative image of the actual text of the synchronicity hypothesis. A photo on the back cover also shows a close-up, but mirrored and upside-down, image of Jung's book.

The original vinyl release was pressed on audiophile vinyl which appears black like most records, but is actually purple when held up to the light.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[9]
The Baltimore Sun5/5 stars[10]
Chicago Tribune2.5/4 stars[11]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[12]
Mojo3/5 stars[13]
Q4/5 stars[14]
Rolling Stone4.5/5 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[15]
Smash Hits9/10[16]
The Village VoiceB+[17]

Richard Cook of NME called Synchronicity "a record of real passion that is impossible to truly decipher", and felt that "although [the album] magnifies the difference between Sting and Summers and Copeland it also evolves the group into a unique state: a mega-band playing off glittering experimentation against the sounding board of a giant audience. It's the sound of a group coming apart and coming together, a widescreen drama with a fascination at a molecular level. Some of the music fuses intuitive pop genius with willfully dense orchestration so powerfully it stuns. It is occasionally sensational."[18]

In Melody Maker Adam Sweeting was less enthusiastic, saying, "I would guess that devotees of this extremely sussed trio will find plenty to amuse them, and indeed Sting has sown all sorts of cryptic little clues and messages throughout his songs... However impressive bits of Synchronicity sound, I could never fall in love with a group which plans its moves so carefully and which would never do anything just for the hell of it".[19]

Reviewing the 2003 reissue, Mojo's David Buckley stated that "Synchronicity [...] was already, in the time-honoured words of rock journo cliché, 'the work of a disintegrating unit', yet 20 years on it hangs together well".[13]

Accolades[edit]

Synchronicity topped the album charts in both the UK[20] and the U.S. for 17 nonconsecutive weeks (interrupting the dominance of Michael Jackson's Thriller in the U.S.).

It won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

In 2013, the album Synchronicity reached No. 13 in BBC Radio 2's "Top 100 Favourite Albums", a poll voted by over 100,000 people. In 2001, the TV network VH1 named it the 50th greatest album of all time. In 2000, the Virgin All-Time Top 1000 Albums rated Synchronicity at No. 91. In 2005, Channel 4's 100 Greatest Albums ranked the album at No. 65. In 2010 Consequence of Sound composed a list of the Top 100 Albums Ever which listed the album at No. 37.

In 2003, the album ranked No. 455 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, while in 2012, Synchronicity was ranked No. 448; it was one of four of the band's entries on the list.

In 1989, the album was ranked No. 17 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s".[6] In 2002, on Pitchfork Media's list of the "Top 100 Albums of the 1980s" it ranked at No. 55. In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at No. 25 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[21]

In 2009, Synchronicity was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame compiled a list of The Definitive 200 Albums of All Time in 2007, listing Synchronicity at No. 119.

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[22]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Sting, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Synchronicity I" 3:23
2."Walking in Your Footsteps" 3:36
3."O My God" 4:02
4."Mother"Andy Summers3:05
5."Miss Gradenko"Stewart Copeland2:00
6."Synchronicity II" 5:00
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
7."Every Breath You Take" 4:13
8."King of Pain" 4:59
9."Wrapped Around Your Finger" 5:13
10."Tea in the Sahara" 4:11
11."Murder by Numbers" (Released on cassette and CD versions but not vinyl)Summers, Sting4:36

Personnel[edit]

The Police

Additional Musicians

Production

Awards[edit]

1984 Grammy Awards

Category Title Nominated
Wins
Song of the Year "Every Breath You Take"
Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals
Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal Synchronicity II
Nominations
Album of the Year Synchronicity
Record of the Year "Every Breath You Take"

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Position
1983 "Every Breath You Take" UK Singles Chart 1[20]
Adult Contemporary 5
Club Play Singles 26
Mainstream Rock 1
The Billboard Hot 100 1
"King of Pain" Adult Contemporary 33
Mainstream Rock 1
The Billboard Hot 100 3
"Synchronicity II" UK Singles Chart 17[20]
Mainstream Rock 9
The Billboard Hot 100 16
"Wrapped Around Your Finger" UK Singles Chart 7[20]
Mainstream Rock 9
1984 Adult Contemporary 13
The Billboard Hot 100 8
"King of Pain" UK Singles Chart 17[20]

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[45] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[46] Platinum 472,100[47]
Germany (BVMI)[48] Gold 250,000^
Japan (Oricon Charts) 175,000[30]
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[49] Gold 15,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[50] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[52] 8× Platinum 8,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Buskin, Richard (March 2004). "Classic Tracks: The Police's 'Every Breath You Take'". Sound on Sound. pp. 136–40.
  2. ^ "Police cancel all leave". NME. 11 June 1983. p. 36.
  3. ^ Pidgeon, John (24 August 2007). "'Whatever we do, this will always be the seminal band'". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Police play Shea Stadium". BBC. Retrieved 26 January 2014
  5. ^ a b Holden, Stephen (23 June 1983). "Synchronicity". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  6. ^ a b "100 Best Albums of the Eighties". Rolling Stone. 16 November 1989. pp. 53–149. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  7. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  8. ^ Phillips, Ian (10 September 1999). "Arts: Angels in America". The Independent. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  9. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Synchronicity – The Police". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  10. ^ Considine, J. D. (19 June 1983). "Police's 'Synchronicity' full of challenging ideas". The Baltimore Sun.
  11. ^ Kot, Greg (7 March 1993). "Feeling A Sting". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  12. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  13. ^ a b Buckley, David (April 2003). "Review: The Police – Synchronicity". Mojo. No. 113. p. 118.
  14. ^ Kane, Peter (April 2003). "Review: The Police – Synchronicity". Q. No. 201. p. 123.
  15. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "The Police". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 644–45. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  16. ^ Dellar, Fred (23 June – 6 July 1983). "The Police: Synchronicity (A&M)". Smash Hits. London. p. 13.
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert (26 July 1983). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  18. ^ Cook, Richard (18 June 1983). "Junger than Stingtime". NME. p. 29.
  19. ^ Sweeting, Adam (18 June 1983). "Synch or Swim". Melody Maker. p. 27.
  20. ^ a b c d e f "Police | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
  21. ^ "40 Best Albums of the '80s". Q. No. 241. August 2006. pp. 84–89.
  22. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  23. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, New South Wales, Australia: Australian Chart Books. pp. 235–36. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  24. ^ "Austriancharts.at – The Police – Synchronicity" (in German). Hung Medien.
  25. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 6324a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  26. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Police – Synchronicity" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  27. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste". infodisc.fr. Archived from the original (PHP) on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014. Note: user must select 'the POLICE' from drop-down.
  28. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH.
  29. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1983" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  30. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  31. ^ "Charts.org.nz – The Police – Synchronicity". Hung Medien.
  32. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – The Police – Synchronicity". Hung Medien.
  33. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Police – Synchronicity". Hung Medien.
  34. ^ "Swisscharts.com – The Police – Synchronicity". Hung Medien.
  35. ^ "The Police Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  36. ^ Kent (1993). "1983 – Top 25 Albums". p. 435.
  37. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1983". RPM. 24 December 1984. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  38. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1983" (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  39. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1983 par InfoDisc" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original (PHP) on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  40. ^ Scaping, Peter, ed. (1984). "Top 100 albums: 1983". BPI Year Book 1984. British Phonographic Industry. pp. 44–45. ISBN 0-906154-04-9.
  41. ^ "Top Pop Albums". Billboard ("Talent Almanac 1984" supplement). 24 December 1983. p. TA-16.
  42. ^ Kent (1993). "1984 – Top 25 Albums". p. 436.
  43. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1984". RPM. 5 January 1985. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  44. ^ "Top Pop Albums". Billboard ("Talent Almanac 1985" supplement). 22 December 1984. p. TA-17.
  45. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Police – Synchronicity". Music Canada. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  46. ^ "French album certifications – The Police – Synchronicity" (in French). InfoDisc. Select THE POLICE and click OK. 
  47. ^ "Les Albums Platine :" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  48. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Police; 'Synchronicity')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  49. ^ "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1984". IFPI Hong Kong.
  50. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Police – Synchronicity" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 21 August 2018. Enter Synchronicity in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  51. ^ "British album certifications – Police – Synchronicity". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 13 September 2012. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Synchronicity in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  52. ^ "American album certifications – The Police – Synchronicity". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 13 September 2012. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.